About Our ResearchDr. Andrea Dunaif has been doing research on Polycystic Ovary Syndrome for 20 years. Through this research we have learned that PCOS is inherited through families; women with PCOS are at higher risk for heart disease and diabetes. Also family members without the condition may be at risk. Learn more...
Do you have PCOS?If you have irregular periods and would like more information about our research, please fill out the form on the contact page or call 1-800-847-6060 to speak with a study coordinator.
Welcome to the Northwestern University PCOS Research website. We invite you to browse the site for information on our current research, faculty and general information on Polycystic Ovary Syndrome.
Overview of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)
PCOS, which may also be referred to as polycystic ovary disease (PCOD) is the most common hormonal disorder found in premenopausal women. PCOS affects 7% of women from all races and nationalities. Typically, PCOS symptoms first appear in adolescence, normally around the start of menstruation. Occasionally, some women do not develop PCOS symptoms until their early to mid-20s. One of the most common symptoms of PCOS is irregular periods.
Although the cause of PCOS is unknown, women with PCOS have high male hormone levels, which can lead to acne, extra facial and body hair, and irregular periods. Additionally, PCOS is the leading cause of hormonal infertility.
Other symptoms associated with PCOS are the heart disease risk factors of weight gain, cholesterol problems, high blood pressure, insulin resistance and diabetes. PCOS may also increase the risk of developing endometrial cancer.
What is understood is that PCOS is an inherited disease. Sisters and daughters of women with PCOS are at high risks themselves of developing PCOS. In addition, both female and male relatives have an increased risk of getting diabetes and heart disease.